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Would You Pay $1,000 For A 30-Track Ambient Album? (If So, Better Pony Up Now)

By Jon Graef in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 27, 2011 7:20PM

3513647154-1.jpg Is Chicago musician Jose Alejandro Rodriguez being serious in pricing his 30-track ambient album, Double Fantasy Vacation, for $1,000 on Bandcamp? The short answer is "no." The long answer is also "no," but the "no" in this case involves a back story that's equal parts Bon Iver and Brian Eno.

When asked through Twitter about the pricing of his record, done under the "Secret Wars" moniker, Rodriguez, who is one half of electronic duo Calm Palm Vapor, responded by saying it started as a joke amongst friends.

"A couple of friends of mine and myself discussed if there was a limit to how much you can charge on Bandcamp," Rodriguez said, in a direct message. "So I tested it out and $1,000 was the max."

Rodriguez says the $1,000 price will remain until Tuesday, June 28, when Double Fantasy Vacation flips to a more typical "pay-what-you-want" model on Bandcamp. ("Hopefully, a generous soul is willing to pay 1K for 30 24k AIF files," Rodriguez said.)

Here's where the Bon Iver part comes in: As Rodriguez explains, Double Fantasy Vacation was a by-product of breakups--both musical and romantic.

After four years, Rodriguez says Calm Palm Vapor had "a sudden exit," the result of which meant that he had "endless unfinished material." A month later, his girlfriend of seven years left him, which Rodriguez says caused him to enter "a realm of depression and confusion." (Very For Emma, Forever Ago, no?).

Despite the setbacks, Rodriguez soldiered on, starting work on the record using leftover material last December. He finished the album on June 10, and the double album was released to Bandcamp on June 26.

"I was close to abandoning the double album. I just wasn't too excited about it. With 20 songs, I felt like [the album] was useless, but friends and family kept me enthusiastic [about the project]" Rodriguez said.

It's now the listeners to be enthusiastic. Though the title is indeed an homage to John Lennon's Double Fantasy album, is more
Music For Airports and Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts than it is Lennon.

A sprawling, 30-track ambient album Double Fantasy Vacation uses spare, haunting synth sounds and harsh, violent noise to soundtrack human emotions as a spectrum. Fans of Eno, M83, Fuck Buttons and Oneohtrix Point Never will find much to admire here. Its sonic range is from total silence to total violence.

Rodriguez says he's planning performances for the fall, and that he doesn't have another record planned for a while. (He also plays auxillary percussion for dream pop group Panda Riot).

Double Fantasy Vacation is available now for $1,000, and available June 28 at a "pay-what-you-want" price through the same Bandcamp site.